Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Upper Body Muscle Groups and How to Work Them

     The majority of the obstacles in the Beast on the Bay require the use of upper body muscle groups, especially those involved in pulling movements (back and biceps). Grip strength is a key factor in any pulling movement, which involves the flexors of the forearm. Your grip strength comes into play when you’re climbing cargo nets and walls, traversing monkey bars, carrying sand bags and buckets of water. To a lesser extent of successfully completing the obstacles, are the muscles involved in pushing movements (chest, shoulders and triceps). You will spend more of your time pulling yourself up, across, and through obstacles, than you will spend pushing your way through them. However, it is imperative that you create a balance between opposing muscle groups. So, be sure to exercise both pushing and pulling muscle groups equally.
     The core is often misrepresented as only referring to your abdominals, but it actually refers to all muscles in your torso. We call it the core because it is where all ambulatory movement originates. More specifically, it is the culmination of these muscles working together, while stabilizing the entire body, regardless of the muscle action being performed. Every obstacle will require the use of core strength, regardless of the upper body muscle group you are using. Crawling through pipes and under cargo netting is simulated by performing plank walks with sliders. Farmer walks with a kettlebell in the suitcase position, is similar to carrying a bucket of water. In both of these scenarios, you’re using your torso to stabilize the rest of your body in completing the movement.
     Here’s a list of exercises divided into groups of push, pull, and core movements:

Push
Pull
Core
Push-Ups
Pull-Ups
V-Sit-Ups
Chest Press w/ Dumbbells
Pulldown
Plank Walk w/ Sliders
Chest Fly w/ Cables
Dumbbell Row
Kneeling Wood Chop
Incline Chest Press w/ Dumbbells
Seated High Row
Standing Low-High Wood Chop
Decline Chest Press                      w/ Dumbbells
Standing T-Bar Row
Step-Up w/ Low-High              Wood Chop
Shoulder Press w/ Dumbbells
Close-Grip Pulldown
Standing Torso Twist w/ Cables
Front Shoulder Raise
Bent-Over Row
Straight-Arm Pulldown
Lateral Raise
Single-arm Pulldown
Rope Crunch w/ Stability Ball
Upright Row
Single-arm Seated Row
Kneeling Rope Crunch
Standing Shoulder Press
Bicep Curl w/ Rotation
Body Saws w/ Sliders
Tricep Press
Hammer Curls
Kettlebell Windmill
Single-arm Tricep Press
Spider Curls
Farmer Walk w/ Kettlebells

                A basic strength training program for the upper body will be performed 2-4 days per week and target the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, biceps, and abdominals. You should allow a minimum of 48 hours between similar exercises, to enable proper muscle recovery and tissue repair. The Beast on the Bay is going to require mostly muscular strength and muscular endurance as opposed to power and hypertrophy (muscle size). Use the recommendations for endurance when performing core and body weight exercises. Use the repetition ranges between strength and endurance for everything else. I recommend performing 3-5 sets of 6-15 reps for exercises involving free weights and/or machines. Refer to the following tables for more specific load percentages, set and repetition ranges according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Note: 1RM represents the maximum weight you can correctly perform one repetition for an exercise (bench press, squat, etc). Use these recommendations for lower body exercises as well.
Training Goal
Load (%1RM)
Sets
Reps
Strength
85
2-6
6
Power
Single-effort
Multiple-effort

80-90
75-85

3-5
3-5

1-2
3-5
Hypertrophy
67-85
3-6
6-12
Endurance
67
2-3
12











This week's video features Dave and Kristin Blakely showing the chest press and farmer's walk:

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